NEW YORK — Like a good cleanup man in baseball, Jay-Z delivers big hits on a consistent basis.
On Tuesday night (September 14) at Yankee Stadium, the Brooklyn rapper closed out the fourth of his and Eminem's Home and Home shows (two in Detroit, two in the Bronx) with a performance that would make A-Rod envious.
"Break a record in this bitch, Hov," he rapped during a freestyle right after the opening number, the intro to his The Dynasty: Roc La Familia album. "Hit them with that BALCO."
The Roc Nation head, however, wouldn't need any performance-enhancing substances to give him an extra boost on this night. He confidently cruised through 90 minutes of material; Jay-Z was just as cool as the fall night.
Kanye West quickly arrived onstage two songs into the show for a mini-set of his own, riding shotgun with Hov on the "Power" remix and "Monster."
Jay-Z grabbed the crowd's attention again minutes later with an anecdote about his exit from the venue the night before. The legendary MC said on the way out after Monday's performance he ran into rap pioneer Kool Herc. Jay said he asked Herc to join him for Tuesday night's festivities, thanking Herc for creating hip-hop culture. "We wouldn't be here without you," he said.
"You ready for me to get out of here yet?" 'Ye asked Hov, bringing it back to the present.
"Not yet, we going all the way tonight," Jay-Z responded.
The Chicago star then burst into his "Good Life."
Next, Swizz Beatz joined Jay for "On to the Next One" before Eminem and the iconic lyricist traded verses on their collabo "Renegade." Eminem was agile onstage next to Jay-Z and appeared in arguably the best shape of his career.
"Go to war with the Mormons/ Take a bath with the Catholics," Em rapped. "In holy water/ No wonder they try to hold me under longer/ I'm a mother----in' spiteful, delightful, eyeful/ The new Ice Cube, mother----ers hate to like you."
Earlier in the evening, Eminem brought the capacity crowd to its feet by bringing out 50 Cent, who then brought out G-Unit's Lloyd Banks and Tony Yayo with him. The trio from Queens sported glow-in-the-dark gear as the lights cut out during 50's performance of "I Get Money." Later, Fif ceded the stage to Em, and the Detroit superstar brought out Dr. Dre.
The hulking producer treated the crowd to "Still D.R.E." and "Nuthin' but a G Thang" sans Snoop Dogg; Eminem, though, filled in admirably for the Long Beach lyricist.
D-12 also took the stage during Em's set; the group dedicated their hit "My Band" to their fallen friend Proof.
The outfield was filled with fans, and their phones made the grounds look like a Lite-Brite as the screens lit up the stadium.
Jay-Z shouted out hip-hop's fallen heroes during his performance. He picked up Pimp C's "Big Pimpin' " verse a cappella and later ordered the DJ to play the Notorious B.I.G.'s "Juicy" and "One More Chance."
The show was smooth, but not without any hiccups. Drake delivered a stirring version of his "Light Up" with Jay-Z; the Toronto star sported a Blueprint 3-designed Yankees fitted cap to pay homage to Hov. "Welcome to the stage a man that's been getting busy as of late," Jay told the audience. "He goes by the name Drizzy Drake."
But minutes later, Drake stumbled through his and Nicki Minaj's "Up All Night." Hov offered a mulligan to Drake and later a olive branch when he told the crowd during his final song that he may have to offer the Young Money rapper a "free verse" to make up for messing up his sound.
Although Jay's most memorable performance involved his guest stars (Beyoncé also joined him, as did Nicki Minaj), this time it was a familiar face that helped him with the most moving part of the show. Memphis Bleek and Jay-Z ran through a series of the latter's past numbers as an encore.
"I got a million of these," Jay repeated twice, as he introduced songs ranging from "Jigga My N---a," "Dirt Off Your Shoulder" and "Where I'm From."
"For anyone that hasn't been down since Reasonable Doubt," Jay-Z told the crowd shortly after midnight, "you can head to the [exit]."
If you were at the Home and Home shows, share your reviews in the comments!